Lucy has stumbled upon a marvellous land of fauns and centaurs, nymphs and talking animals. But soon she discovers that it is ruled by the cruel White Witch, and can only be freed by Aslan, the great Lion, and four children.
In the never-ending war between good and evil, The Chronicles of Narnia set the stage for battles of epic proportions. Some take place in vast fields, where the forces of light and darkness clash. But other battles occur within the small chambers of the heart and are equally decisive.
Journeys to the ends of the world, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds, and friendships won and lost, all come together in an unforgettable world of magic. So let the adventures begin.
This was the first book written in The Chronicles of Narnia. It now stands as the second book in the series, preceded by The Magician's Nephew.
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Don't miss any of the books in C.S. Lewis' classic Chronicles of Narnia series.
©1950, 1978 C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd; (P)2005 HarperCollins UK
I loved the Narnia books as a child and read them many times, especially this first one. As a child, I was completely oblivious to any religious symbolism in the book, so for me it was simply a great adventure story with a fantastic hero in Aslan. I think I was around eighteen when I last read them and, as with many childhood books, have always been a bit worried to revisit them in case my older, more cynical self has turned me into a Susan – unable to remember the magic and find my way back to Narnia. But when I came across this series on Audible, with some great narrators, I decided to take the risk.
And it was worth it. The book didn't have quite the same effect on me as when I was seven, but it's still a great story very well told. This time around I was obviously more aware of the parallels to the Christ story but I was intrigued to note that there are a lot of other references too – Bacchus puts in an appearance, as does Silenus, and of course all the stuff about fauns and centaurs and other creatures from folk legends and mythology. It's all a bit of a mish-mash really but it works, and stops it from becoming overly preachy. Occasionally the messages are a little heavy-handed – about the evils of lying and so on – but this was fairly standard for children's literature of the time from what I recall, and isn't nearly as blatant as in some of them.
I was also much more aware of how terribly middle-class the children are, and how indoctrinated we were through the books we were reading to accept the subordinate, nurturing role of women and the heroic warrior status of boys. It's amazing that the generation of women who grew up reading books like these, and Blyton and most of the other books I remember, managed to both love the books and rebel against the message. I did wonder if young mothers of young girls today would be quite so happy to have them reading books where girls help lay the table while boys go off in a manly way to catch fish for dinner, not to mention the girls ending up on the diplomatic marriage market when they were older. Daughters of Eve, Sons of Adam...hmm! Correct me if my knowledge of biology is a bit shaky, but my understanding is that the procreation process requires both genders to participate (or a test-tube or turkey baster at the very least). But I'd encourage young mothers not to let it put them off – my generation seemed to survive the onslaught of not-so-subliminal messages. (I also found myself thinking how little had changed in the role of women in the thousands of years between the Old Testament and this book and yet how much has changed, for those of us in the West at least, in the sixty or so years since. It rather made me proud...)
But apart from all this adult over-analysis, I enjoyed the story a lot. The descriptions of the frozen world are great and the Queen is just as scary and horrible as I remember. Edmund is still a revolting little oick, Susan and Peter still badly need brought down a peg or two from their superior teenage smugness and I still identify with Lucy – youngest of four siblings, you see – even if she is a bit too sweet to be true. I loved the thaw – the way he matches the returning of life to the landscape with the returning of joy to the characters. Mr and Mrs Beaver are lovely, and poor Mr Tumnus! The bit with Aslan and the Stone Table is as moving and beautiful as ever it was and I still want to run and play with him, and put my hands in his golden mane! But why, oh why, must it end with them all having turned into stuffy, pompous adults complete with mock medieval language? I hated that bit when I was young and I hate it now – in fact, it was surprising how in tune young FF and old FF turned out to be. Perhaps my inner child isn't so deeply buried after all...
Michael York's reading is excellent. He gives all the characters distinct voices, and uses different British regional accents for the creatures. Mr Tumnus is Irish, the Beavers are some kind of rural English – Somerset-ish perhaps? - and I laughed a lot at Maugrim the wolf's vurry, vurry Scottish accent. The children's voices grated a bit on me – awfully posh standard English – but I did think they were right for the characters. And crucially he does Aslan's voice (and roar) brilliantly – just the right deep tones filled with power and menace, but with a warmth beneath.
So overall a happy visit to my childhood and I can now look forward to enjoying the rest. Since I'm sticking with the original publication order, next up will be Prince Caspian, narrated by Lynn Redgrave. Doesn't that sound good?
Yes, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe is a classic, well known story read brilliantly - what's not to love?
At first I wasn't sure about the narrator but Michael York was full of expression and read with real joy - his voices for the characters are spot on and bring each one to life.
I think I enjoyed the trip from the Beavers' house to the Stone Table the most, where the Pevencies meet Father Christmas and go on to witness the magic of accelerated Spring!
Magic, warmth and good conquering evil - a classic much-loved story at it's best.
The Narnia series as a whole are the top stories we have listened to as a family. My 5 year old son loves them and listens repeatedly in the car and in bed.
The end with Aslan at the Stone Table was very dramatic and we were all silently listening to find out what happened.
Just enough drama not to detract from the actual text of the story.
It made us hold our breath sometimes with anticipation and suspense.
We are really looking forward to listening to the rest of the series.
I love love love this CS Lewis classic. The narration was good and added to the enjoyment of the story.
I have not read these books since I was a child, I was pleased to see all 7 books on this site. A good quality reading.
I love the story, and have read it several times. I got the audiobook to listen to as I fall asleep. However, York's performance ruins the story! He has a patronising tone, with really strange emphasis and intonation. For example, his voice goes up at the end of a sentence, and there is not continuity, it's like he's reading a bunch of random sentences rather than a paragraph. Such a shame as Kenneth Branagh's performance in The Magician's Nephew was absolutely superb - a truly gifted voice actor. York just doesn't compare.
this is a lovely, British reading of the story. Michael bond uses fabulous accents (irish for Mr tumnus) to tell this story, without being over the top.
In my children's titles, it ranks at the top.
Aslan is my favourite. Lewis created him as an allegory of Jesus Christ.
Lucy and Aslan.
Course He Isn't Safe, But He's Good
I suppose most, if not all children read this book first and this was no exception for me. I can remember how it left me wondering at the end before I new of the other books - were there more to come, or was this the only one?
Waded through some weighty audiobooks so far and bought this short classic on whim. What a find! A total joy beginning to end - narrated perfectly by Michael York.
Can't recommend it highly enough.
Oh and it's definitely way more than a children's book...
The story is well read, and well told. I just wish the narrator wouldn't adopt the tone of voice that sounds like he's reading it to a naughty five-year-old. Apart from that it is brilliant, with good voices, excellent pace, clear voice, and everything else that does this great story justice.
Add this to your Christmas stocking, or better, buy it for someone young and then listen to the story with them.
It's so good to read a heart warming story that appeals to adults and children alike.
"A beautiful story"
I prefer the print version but they both complement each other. The print version just provides illustrations from Pauline Baynes that adds more to the reading experience.
This story compares a bit to sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. They are both fictitious, but this story is easier to read and is better written and told.
My favourite scene was when Aslan sacrificed himself for Edmund, on the stone table then with the help of the mice rose up again. This was a beautifully told part of the story.
I listened to this book in one sitting as it is only a short story and I listened on kindle fire which has a speed option which I use to get through my books faster.
This was the first book published in The Chronicles of Narnia series and I recommend reading or listening to this first if you are reading the series for the first time. If reading the series again I recommend reading The Magician's nephew first so you read and listen to the story in chronological order.
"Poor old Michael York does a dreadful job."
We all know the story of Narnia. It's great. But Michael York absolutely ruins this with a condescending tone meant for three year olds perhaps. I suggest reading this book aloud to your children yourself or reading the book yourself. Don't buy this unless you don't mind this sort of reading.
Memories of childhood flooded in because the first contact I had with this book, I was less than 10 years old, was my mother reading it to me.
From that first time, every time I have had contact with the story, the magic has touched me; this time was the first time I have listened again and taking it in through my ears frees up my imagination, especially my visual imagination, to see things the way I want them to be. If my eyes are busy reading words, some of that optical brain space is being used up.
The Secret Garden - also magical in essence with a grown up who believes the children. And I think my first contact was having it read aloud to me.
I would, although I do think his voice is only a little bit above dull.
Triumph of the Deeper Magic
The magic is deeper and deeper every time I read this book. I would strongly recommend listening to the Chronicles of Narnia in the chronology of the Narnian world, and to listen to them consecutively - that is - without any other books in between.
I'm already feeling guilty for sending a semi-negative review about such a classic, but I was genuinely left feeling disappointed. The narration was good, so it wasn't that. I think it's just that it is always difficult to reconcile the memory of a book that was read as a child with a re-reading in adulthood (well, middle age if I'm honest!). Somewhere along the line my own mind must have filled in some bits for itself because it seemed to lack the richness of story and character that I remembered. Maybe I've just become more cynical in my old age, but I sincerely wish I'd left the memory alone and admitted that it was a story written for children and with good reason.
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